Out in the Field with chief reporter Annemarie Field: Riots... its all down to lack of discipline

I’VE big black bags under my eyes this week as I’ve been sitting up glued to the telly absolutely mesmerised by the images of the riots kicking off across the country.

And, like all decent right-thinking members of society, the scenes have made my blood boil.

It’s hard to know where to start really when we’re worrying about where it’s all gone wrong but I reckon it’s all down to discipline.

As parents we’re told we can’t smack our kids (a slap round the back of the legs never did me any harm), teachers are prevented from chastising kids in schools (I remember getting the slipper at school) and even police can’t clip a troublemaker round the ear any more.

Watching the youngsters run around looting shops and setting fire to cars and buildings, three things struck me.

Firstly, why the hell weren’t they at home in bed? Secondly, where are their parents while they’re running riot? It wasn’t like that in my day when we were scared of the police, absolutely terrified if we had to explain to our parents why the police had brought us home.

Thirdly and finally, why weren’t the police given permission to use water cannons and rubber bullets until after four nights continuous rioting in major cities?

Instead of politicians taking the softly softly approach thinking let’s sit round, discuss it and have a big group hug, the government should’ve got the Army in to stamp on it from the outset. If all of them aren’t out in Afghanistan that is.

I remember being in Amsterdam some years ago (I’d gone for three days, ended up staying three weeks, but that’s another story) when a riot broke out in the city centre. The police came in with not just water cannons but guns too and it was over as soon as it started.

I like to think I’m bringing my children up to have good morals and values, as my parents did. Unfortunately there is a generation of young people – the likes of which we have seen running riot on the telly – who haven’t. And sadly, they will be adults soon.

But for a different view, ask David who works in the Texaco petrol station on Willingdon Road – he’s got an interesting take on it all...

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THANKS to everybody who has been in touch about Christmas coming early in Eastbourne and selling festive cards in summer.

May Waters tells me the Card Factory in the Arndale Centre has been selling them and Crimbo merchandise since mid-July!